Mastery & Motivation – Creating Champions & Cultural Change

In Leadership

By Maura Fay Learning

Let’s see a show of (mental) hands on this one. Hands up if you’re challenged to find the time to develop your team to be the best that they can be and manage your own workload? What about the challenge of working with your team to identify learning needs, when all they come up with is “excel training”? Last one;  the challenge of integrating professional development into the daily rhythm of operations rather than it feeling like a completely separate task/project?

These conundrums are very real for leaders and organisations of today. They present just a few examples of how the modern day leader needs to think and act differently in order to assist people maximise their potential. All of these challenges sit within the context of ‘Mastery’, a part of Maura Fay Learning’s broader leadership framework on Empowering and Inspiring People.

The question now is, as a leader, how do you know if you’re a Mastery champion or conversely if you have a Mastery problem? Check out the table below and take a minute to reflect on your own leadership and the environment around you.

How did you go? If you’re like most leaders, it is likely that you can relate to some of the statements in both columns. For context, we would describe the Mastery 1 column as OK, typical of most leaders and organisations. The theme for Mastery 2 is Excellence, typically reserved for only a select few leaders and organisations. If you’re a Mastery 2 leader, congratulations!

There is so much to discuss on the topic of Mastery, more than we can fit into one blog. We’d like to leave you with a few final thoughts …

  • There is a belief that to achieve real Mastery requires serious financial investment and therefore only the highly profitable organisations can achieve this state. Take another look at the Mastery 2 column. We’d like to challenge that notion, and hope that you would too.
  • Similar to above, there’s a line of thinking that building a learning culture needs to start with a memo from the CEO to the whole organisation, encouraging people to invest in personal development and mastery. Again, take a look at the Mastery 2 column. The cultural change for your team or department starts with you as leader and not your CEO.
  • Whilst the Mastery 1 column was described as OK, is it good enough? The heading for this column is “Creating People Activity Without Growth”, implying that leaders are generating a whole lot of development activity but is it really paying off, or is it simply ticking the box? We would argue that this approach to mastery is more compliance focused than anything else. While people at first might be appreciative of the development activity, over time they’ll realise that it’s not adding value. They’re not growing personally or professionally and if learning is a key motivator for them, they’ll start to disengage. Ask yourself, what’s the return on investment if my leadership is more Mastery 1 than Mastery 2?
  • Achieving a state of Mastery 2 is an amazing place to be. If you and your team are there now, you’ll know what we mean. There’s a sense of energy or flow in the team, there’s alignment between personal and organisational goals and people feel like they are on the road to maximising their potential. While it takes courage and discipline from the leader to make it happen, it’s also something that doesn’t happen overnight. Leaders can’t think that they can flick the switch and achieve the Mastery 2 end-state immediately. It takes time, and that’s OK. If you’re not there yet, start your planning now.

At Maura Fay Learning we integrate the concept of leadership purpose into our ‘Empowering and Inspiring People’ learning solution. If you would like to find out more contact us today.

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